Decision delayed on fate of historic Thatcher Mill ruins

The developers of the Mill Creek residential complex in downtown Logan have temporarily withdrawn their request for permission to demolish the historic ruins of the Thatcher Mill on 100 South Street.

LOGAN – City officials here say that a scheduled meeting of the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) on Monday to determine the fate of important ruins in the downtown area of Logan has been cancelled.

That meeting would have determined whether the owners of the Mill Creek residential project on 100 South St. should be allowed to demolish the historic ruins of the Thatcher Mill and Elevator Company and incorporate some artifacts of that site into their ongoing construction project.

The monthly meeting of the HPC was cancelled Friday when the project developers withdrew their application for a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed demolition after consultation with city officials, according to Amanda Hovey of the city’s Community Development Department.

“The developer will probably be submitting a new plan that will be considered at the next HPC meeting on April 19,” Hovey said.

Construction of Phase 1 of the Mill Creek residential complex, on the corner of 100 South and 100 West streets, is already underway.

The proposed second phase of the Mill Creek project is an additional six-story, 75-unit residential development. As explained by Paul Willie of Mountain States Property Management at a September 2020 meeting of the HPC, that extension of the residential complex would occupy most of the vacant southern side of 100 South St., straddling what remains of the Cache Valley’s oldest commercial mill.

The Thatcher Mill was originally constructed in 1860 as a saw-mill and was later transformed into a grist mill. With the addition of a grain elevator by Logan entrepreneurs G.W. and Moses Thatcher in 1886, the Thatcher flour mill was the largest in Utah and Idaho. The mill continued to operate until the Great Depression in the 1930s and finally burned to the ground in 1946.

Willie said that all that remains of the mill today is an el-shaped portion of its foundation that is now crumbling and covered in crude graffiti.

During informal discussion of this issue in September of 2020, HPC members expressed little enthusiasm for the extension of the Mill Creek project unless it included plans to preserve the mill ruins or some sort of structure or plaza commemorating the mill’s history.

City officials have indicated Mill Creek designers now plan to incorporate some rocks and mill artifacts into the Phase 2 residential complex. They also plan to redirect the canal along 100 South St. into its historic streambed.

The Mill Creek residential development is the southern anchor of a revitalized downtown envisioned by Mayor Holly Daines stretching from 100 South to 400 North on the west side of Main Street.

The elements of that redevelopment effort are the Mill Creek housing project to the south, the recently approved city plaza replacing the Emporium on the city’s Center Block, a new library on the corner of 300 North and a possible commercial mixed-use development across that thoroughfare.

Another residential development is also in progress across Main St. along 100 East Street.

City officials say the addition of residential housing on 100 South contributes to Logan’s community development goals by growing the city’s property tax base, increasing population in the downtown area and encouraging additional redevelopment projects.

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